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How to Make Fondant Seashells Without a Mold

Kylyssa is an artist who works in a wide variety of media that has included fondant since 2008. She enjoys creating and sharing sweet tips.

fondant_seashells

Decorate Your Cake With Sugary Shells Handmade With Fondant or Gum Paste

These sweet seashells are easy to make and serve as great cake decorations. With simple tools and a little creativity, you can make realistic looking shells from fondant or gum paste.

This tutorial gives instructions on how to make four different kinds of seashells for cake or cupcake decoration or for use as novelty candy. They are tasty and can be made and dried for storage weeks ahead of time.

What You Will Need for This Project

  • Fondant in the desired colors*
  • A sharp knife or a craft knife
  • A paring knife
  • Waxed paper
  • Cooking oil

*To decide which colors of fondant to use, consider what colors you wish to see in the finished decorations. For wedding cake decoration, white or off-white may be good choices whereas earth tones and colors seen in natural seashells may be better for other applications. It's entirely a matter of personal taste.

Cockle Shells Instructions

Cockle shells made with vanilla bean and cocoa fondant

Cockle shells made with vanilla bean and cocoa fondant

Cockle Shells: Step One

Cockle Shells: Step One

Cockle Shells: Step One

Roll out cake fondant onto lightly oiled waxed paper and cut out a wedge shape as pictured using a sharp craft knife coated in cooking oil. It may help to wipe the blade clean on a tea towel or paper towel between major cuts to keep sugar from clinging to and blunting the effect of the blade.

Cockle Shells: Step Two

Cockle Shells: Step Two

Cockle Shells: Step Two

Score the top of the wedge as pictured using the length of a paring knife generously coated with vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray. Don't press too hard or it will cut all of the way through. The intention is just to give the shell texture. These are one of the easier varieties to make and, with a bit of practice, the finished product is fairly realistic-looking.

Cockle Shells: Step Three

Cockle Shells: Step Three

Cockle Shells: Step Three

Pinch the narrow end of the scored wedge and tuck it under the main body of the shell.

fondant_seashells

Cockle Shells: Finishing Touches

Set the finished shell on top of a rolled up ball of waxed paper to dry. The balled up waxed paper will keep the curved shape as the seashell dries.

Egg Cockles Instructions

fondant_seashells

These are probably the easiest to make and I think they look quite a bit like the real thing.

Egg Cockles: Step One

Egg Cockles: Step One

Egg Cockles: Step One

Cut a rounded shape from rolled fondant using an oiled craft knife as shown in the picture.

fondant_seashells

Egg Cockle: Finishing Steps

Press slowly into the center of the fondant egg cockle shape with a well oiled thumb until it bulges. Then set it on top of a rolled up ball of waxed paper to keep the bulged shape as the fondant dries.

These are the easiest to make and, in my opinion, look the most realistic of all of them.

Worm Shells Instructions

fondant_seashells

I think this is a fun type to involve children in making. There's a bunch of hand modeling and no knife use involved. They come in all sorts of variations in nature so there's no need for careful control or perfection for them to look good.

Worm Shells: Step One

Worm Shells: Step One

Worm Shells: Step One

Roll out a tapered piece of fondant on waxed paper with well oiled fingers to achieve a thin, elongated cone as pictured.

Worm Shells: Step Two

Worm Shells: Step Two

Worm Shells: Step Two

Coil the fondant tightly as shown, starting at the small end in tight coils and working out to the large end in larger coils.

Worm Shells: Finishing Touches

Worm Shells: Finishing Touches

Stretch Out the Worm Shell for a Natural Look

Pull the coil of fondant gently until the loops are slightly separated and set aside on waxed paper to dry. Try not to make them too identical or too regular in shape because it will look unnatural. The real ones display a lot of variation.

Tools to Make This Project Easier

If you plan to make fondant or gumpaste cake decorations frequently it might be a good idea to invest in some basic food-grade shaping tools.

Sea Snails

fondant_seashells

This is another project appropriate for children as no knife use is involved.

Sea Snails: Step One

Sea Snails: Step One

Sea Snails: Step One

Roll out a long, tapered, cone-like piece of fondant on waxed paper and dent in the wide end with well oiled fingers.

Sea Snails: Step Two... and they're done!

Sea Snails: Step Two... and they're done!

Sea Snails: Step Two

Coil the fondant into a tight, flat coil starting at the small end. Set aside on waxed paper to dry.

The Finished Fondant Seashells

fondant_seashells

I used these particular seashells to decorate a sandy beach cake for a summer party. The cake and frosting had so much vanilla extract in it that it was almost alcoholic. Fortunately, by the time we cut into it, most of the alcohol had evaporated. My sweetie likes his sweets with lots of vanilla! He really liked the shells with vanilla bean specks in them.

© 2009 Kylyssa Shay

What Do You Think? Would You Make Your Own Fondant Seashells?

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on November 29, 2017:

Very creative. I love making my own cake decorations. Thanks for sharing your DIY.

jfjones1 on August 02, 2014:

I don't have the patience to do anything like this, but I really respect and admire anyone else that can do it.This is very time consuming and detail oriented, but I LOVE this!These are so beautiful.Thank you for making this lens.

Erin Hardison from Memphis, TN on April 21, 2014:

I've made candy seashells before, but it would be really fun to do some fondant ones. Thanks for the easy tutorial!

Rose Jones on January 12, 2014:

How fun! Pinned to my cakes board.

pjsart on October 30, 2013:

These are all wonderful.

julieannbrady on August 02, 2013:

How impressive this is! Have never done any fondant -- but I must admit that I am fond of the cockles!!

Rose Jones on March 13, 2013:

Lovely lens, well put together. Pinned to my cakes board, so that my kids and I can make it someday. We live by a beach and love the ocean.

Marie on October 24, 2011:

These are brilliant but I shall be doing this with some plasticine with my daughter as we love playing with that together. She likes the look of the sea worms and snails :)

anonymous on May 29, 2011:

You are an artist with fondant, your shells look real! Beautifully done! If I ever decide to try my hand at fondant, I sure know where to come!

plrang on March 29, 2011:

Pretty cool idea :)

Sammy24 on January 07, 2011:

Thanks. Great lense.

LouisaDembul on December 19, 2010:

This looks possible for us! Will try it out next week.

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on September 12, 2010:

How fun! I grew up on the shore, but I bet these shells taste a lot better than the ones I used to collect.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on September 11, 2010:

These are absolutely fabulous!!! I love, love, love your step by step instructions! You make it look so easy. Why do I think I could still mess them up? LOL

VarietyWriter2 on September 01, 2010:

Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

poutine on August 23, 2010:

Thanks for the easy instructions.

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on August 22, 2010:

I want some fondant seashells, that's what I think:) captcha is snifflubber, LOL

Kate Phizackerl1 on August 09, 2010:

Great lens. I'll add it to my icing compendium

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on May 26, 2010:

Wow. I had no idea that something so pretty (and edible) could be so easy to make. Thank you for sharing.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on March 31, 2010:

These shells look so real! I'm sending this link to a friend who also uses fondant for her cakes.

aya236820 on January 28, 2010:

you so good~ i like those

Indigo Janson from UK on November 24, 2009:

These are clever - and very helpful step by step instructions!

dustytoes on September 26, 2009:

Great information...I like the adding of the specks for a more realistic look. Lensrolled to my Seashell Identification lens.

Jennifer P Tanabe from Red Hook, NY on August 21, 2009:

I love sea shells and your fondant sea shells look so real, and good enough to eat! Wow!

Laura Schofield from Chicago, IL USA on July 22, 2009:

How cool! My daughter loves Ariel the mermaid, so these might make their way onto her birthday cake this year!! 5 stars.

Carol Fisher from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on July 22, 2009:

This is a great lens and I've lensrolled it.

karen550 lm on July 22, 2009:

What an awesome, unique idea! You are so creative. Nice lens.